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Nonprofit organizations tackle challenges with GPS technology

By Verizon Connect December 14, 2023

Many nonprofits which employ field workers to provide community and business services, no matter their focus, must consistently push to do more with limited funds, whether grantmaking foundations, advocacy groups, civic clubs, social organizations or other nonprofits.

These nonprofits often have dedicated vehicles or small fleets as an integral part of advancing their mission. And like other areas of the organization, these vehicles must run as productively, safely and cost-effectively as possible to account for tight budgets and, often, limited staff or volunteers. 

Addressing key nonprofit challenges requires investment in technology solutions, like telematics, that can help nonprofits deliver maximum ROI. Here’s an overview of four critical challenges fleet-based nonprofits face, and how telematics technology helps to overcome them.

Challenge 1: fleet tracking without gps technology 

Nonprofits have a lot on their plates, and resources are limited. That makes keeping track of driver destinations and vehicle locations more difficult, especially if done manually. 

The ability to effectively monitor driver activity, including routes taken and stops made, is key to streamlining fleet efficiency. Telematics technology enables nonprofits to improve customer service and better address business decisions by providing near real-time data, alerts and reports around vehicle location and activity tracking.

In fact, 50% of fleets across industries reported reaching their customer service goals after implementing GPS tracking.1 Whether reviewing current data or analyzing historical data, nonprofits can gain fleet visibility by leveraging these useful tools:

  • Vehicle history: Vehicle history (breadcrumb) reports show routes taken, helping to uncover patterns related to inefficient or out-of-the way routes.
  • Live map: The live map view on the dashboard provides a view of the entire fleet on one screen at the same time. Nonprofits can see where all vehicles are at any given moment in near-real time.
  • Geofencing: Geofences can monitor specific areas of interest and highlight specific activity within that area. Nonprofits can create geofences to clarify for drivers what areas are off limits and receive an alert if a vehicle is taken somewhere unauthorized.
  • Routing and planning: Using route planning software, nonprofits can electronically plan and sequence job assignments to plan efficient use of driver’s time, fuel and miles driven to reduce wear and tear on each vehicle.

Challenge 2: Promoting driver safety

For a nonprofit, reputation is everything and safety is a top priority. Harsh driving behaviors can put both drivers and the public at risk. Additionally, since those vehicles are tied to the organization, aggressive or unsafe driving can have a negative effect on a nonprofit’s image and impact its ability to carry out its mission. Nonprofits need a better way to manage and coach driver behavior and help facilitate safe driving protocols.

Telematics technology monitors driver behavior, giving nonprofits a window into whether harsh driving events like speeding, harsh braking and hard cornering are taking place. Nonprofit managers can run reports, receive alerts and review video to review driving trends or a specific driving event. AI Dashcams can even help automatically alert drivers if an unsafe driving incident occurs. Managers can use this system data to improve driver habits through coaching and discussion. Alerts and reports can include:

  • Safety reports
  • Scorecards
  • Mobile manager
  • Driver apps
  • Integrated video
  • GPS navigation

AI Dashcam can help detect risky behavior, like tailgating, when someone is in the vehicle’s path, and when a driver loses focus on the road, uses a phone, falls asleep or is smoking. When the camera AI detects risky behavior, an audible in-cab alert immediately tells the driver what they did, and video footage of the event is uploaded to the fleet platform.

Read about the organization, Tiegerman Community Services, and how they prioritized passenger safety using GPS technology.

Challenge 3: Grappling with high operating expenses

For most if not all nonprofit organizations, budgets are tight. That’s why managing operating expenses, including those related to fleet vehicles, is critical. This requires detailed oversight into vehicle maintenance, fuel usage, labor costs and more. Plus, many nonprofits lack the time and workforce to track this information manually. This is where telematics technology comes in.

A telematics system can help nonprofits keep track of the data related to operating fleet vehicles economically and efficiently, including excessive idling, inefficient routing, routine maintenance and safety inspections. To gain a better handle on vehicle cost management, nonprofits can take advantage of:

  • Fuel monitoring and integration: Manage fuel usage by monitoring purchases at the pump, and track fuel card usage to automatically identify suspicious transactions using smart algorithms that help identify and reduce fuel card fraud. Fleets across industries saw a 9% decrease in fuel costs after implementing telematics in 2024.1
  • Vehicle maintenance and scheduling systems: Provide comprehensive maintenance tracking and preventative scheduling to help boost equipment uptime. Generate vehicle maintenance alerts for your own service department or local dealer and monitor vehicle usage. Supporting the accuracy of your preventative maintenance program can help control costs and reduce downtime.
  • Commercial navigation: Gives your driver's directions and the most fuel-efficient routes to their destination based on their vehicle class. They can avoid driving on restricted roads and get turn-by-turn GPS navigation.

Challenge 4: Providing proof of services performed

For nonprofits that provide services, such as donation pick-ups or drop-offs, it’s important to provide proof of services rendered as part of prioritizing customer satisfaction. However, paper-based records or verbal accounts can be unreliable and difficult to track. 

Telematics technology enables the near-real time capture of customer signatures, photos and other information via digital forms with time stamps. This digital verification gets stored securely in the cloud for quick, easy retrieval by the back office for improved visibility into whether a job has been completed and when.

Nonprofits face an array of operating challenges, but managing fleet vehicles doesn’t have to be one of them. Find out more about how GPS technology can streamline nonprofit fleet management.


1 2024 Fleet Technology Trends Report

Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.

Tags: Community, Government, Public works

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